The strange role North Korea is playing in the Persian Gulf crisis

Adam Taylor writes: In the ongoing diplomatic crisis in the Persian Gulf between Qatar and a Saudi-led bloc, an unusual role is being played by a country thousands of miles away: North Korea.

In recent days, both sides of the dispute have been accused of having an illicit economic relationship with the isolated nation — a touchy subject in Washington, given Pyongyang’s advancing nuclear weapons program and antagonism toward the United States.

Last week, reports detailing an alleged arms deal worth $100 million between North Korea and a company in the United Arab Emirates resurfaced online. Then on Tuesday, UAE rival Qatar was accused of having a “dangerous” relationship with North Korea in an op-ed published in the Hill newspaper.

There’s at least some truth to both allegations. Details of the sale of North Korean weapons to an Emirati company were revealed in a 2015 leak of UAE government emails first reported by the New York Times; the emails showed that Yousef al-Otaiba, the UAE ambassador to the United States, was summoned to a meeting with the State Department because of the deal. [Continue reading…]

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